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Project: Economic Self-Sufficiency Program
Grantee:   Women’s Intercultural Center
Location:  Anthony, NM
FWF Fund: Pat Villalobos Community Endowment

The neighboring communities of Anthony, NM and Anthony, TX suffer from many of the same circumstances: low income and educational levels as well as few educational and employment opportunities. The Women’s Intercultural Center serves both communities, knowing the need exists on both sides of the bordering states. It has become a resource for women who are interested in job skills training as well as personal development. 

One such participant, Maria, is poor, has young children, has an 8th grade education and speaks little English. Often, Maria doesn’t see any way for her life to improve, but she attends a catering class offered at the Center and begins making new friends and becomes part of the Center’s community. After she completes this income-producing activity, she signs up for additional classes, begins to learn English and discovers new talents and interests. Soon she finds that she is becoming more confident, involved and empowered.  

Maria called her Coordinator several weeks after she stopped attending the classes, to announce that she had moved away because she had finally gotten the courage to leave her abusive husband. She told the Coordinator “if it wasn’t for [the Center], I’d still be with my husband.” The Center serves as a safe haven for women to step away from their troubles and regain perspective and self-esteem. They are free to pick up some skills and to participate in some income-generating activity.  

Since the Center's inception in 1993, clusters of women have been part of  micro-enterprise groups, most recently through a catering project and a "sewing-to-sell" group that are part of the Center’s Economic Self-Sufficiency programs.